Maharashtra to digitize all gram panchayats in 3 years

By : |June 8, 2016 0

Maharashtra state government is all set to roll out an ambitious plan to connect all gram panchayats through an optical fiber network aiming at digital empowerment of its villages. The entire high-speed Internet service architecture will be monetized by allowing private players to hire it on payment, creating jobs in rural and semi-urban areas through setting up of rural BPO units, warehouses, small movie halls and supply chain management systems.

Vijay Kumar Gautam, principal secretary of the state Information Technology (IT) department, said they have submitted a detailed project report (DPR) to connect all 27,920-gram panchayats in Maharashtra with fiber capacity of 100 Mbps per gram panchayat, within the next three years. The network will also connect schools, hospitals, and veterinary centers, ensuring a major thrust for electronic access to these services.

The project would not only allow youth with skill up gradation using broadband but also help villagers to access government to citizen (G2C) services, e-health, e-education and e-agriculture facilities.

“We are taking the fiber to all gram panchayats, with a back-hall of 100 Mbps. After that, we will create WiFi hotspots in each gram panchayat. Then private players will be allowed to monetize and take it anywhere else they want to take it. If a cable operator wants to create a small theater, he will be able to take it there and pay (for it),” explains Gautam.

The project will be covered under the Bharat Net initiative of the Digital India program, which aims at connecting all gram panchayats in the country through a high-speed digital highway using optical fiber, making it one of the largest rural broadband connectivity projects.

On May 1, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis launched the digital village scheme in five-gram panchayats in his home district of Nagpur – Tarodi Budruk, Dabha, Vihirgaon, Khasala, and Khandala – under the Digital Maharashtra project. These gram panchayats were enabled with 4Mbps connectivity with assured WiFi hotspots and use of this facility for e-education, e-health, e-agriculture and G2C services.

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